Tuesday, 29 September 2009
1. A tea cosy. The new deputy head requires one, and I like her, and I have lots of leftover red and purple wool (her favourite colours) and a handy pattern from the Debblie Bliss A/W08 magazine. I don't reckon it'll take me longer than a weekend.
2. A cabled beret. I like this one by Ysolda Teague, but there is a similar one in the aforementioned Debbie Bliss mag, which I have already paid for, so I might try my hand at that one instead. I have some teal Knitpicks Andean Silk, which I got in a swap, all ready for it.
3. Colourwork mittens. Something using the purple Andean Silk from the same swap, and the skein of Noro Silk Garden I will have leftover from the Candy cardigan I'm knitting right now. There are a few patterns out there I like, especially the Bird in Hand mitts, but I'll probably try and come up with my own design.
4. Thrummed slippers. I have some red roving for thrums and some chunky purple Sirdar softee. I want my feet to be as toasty as my hands.
5. WIP - Candy cardigan. It's knitting up quickly - I am proud to say that, at the weekend, I picked up and knit the bottom ribbed edge AND picked up for the top portion as well. I picked up 400 odd stitches, with only a little complaining. In fact, Mr Z complained more, because I required something mindless to watch whilst doing the second picking up, and made him sit through three episodes of Housewives of New Jersey, back to back.
Anyway, I intend to have that cardigan put to bed before October half term, but we'll see.
And yes, that big chunk of grass on the right of the picture DID end up caught up in the knitting - and yes, I will pay more attention to where I lay it down in future.
6. WIP - Jo's lace scarf. After getting the hang of it and adding several inches in just a couple of days, I have now cast it aside in favour of Candy, which makes me a promiscuous knitter, as well as a bad friend. I am on a deadline for this since I want Parpy Jo to have it as the weather turns cold, so I am going to set Candy on the back burner and get on with this. At the end of the week.
Maybe the start of next week.
7. WIP - Bamboo wrap top - aka "half term finisher". This is the project that I intend to concentrate on during my break, as it's a summer top and will be useful for my impending trip to Malaysia. I need to get over my fear that it will be too big - it's a WRAP top, it hardly matters.
8. WIP - red cardigan. I started the red cardigan for a June wedding and knitted the whole back in just one day, whereupon (regular readers might remember) I discovered my gauge was off, and threw it aside in a fit of pique.
The time has come for the red cardigan to come back out of the wilderness. I have on at least three occasions wished the red cardigan were in a wearble state since I started back in September, as it would make an excellent little cover up for a number of my summer dresses.
(I should here insert two more WIPs which are crying out for my attention, but I'm not going to lie to you - I probably won't get them off the needles by the end of the year).
9. Mr Z's Binary scarf. I have had the yarn for TWO YEARS and now I've done a colourwork workshop, I have absolutely no excuses. I have earmarked this as a Christmas holiday project...probably the Christmas holiday project.
10. A self-designed navy jacket, to incorporate the dichroic glass buttons I bought at Fibrefest. I have a picture in my head of how I want it to look; I just need to find some suitable yarn (something quite stiff and jackety) and put some numbers down on paper.
It's hard to pick just ten, really, especially since I quite urgently want to start a bag soon, and I haven't even thought about Christmas gift projects. It feels weird not to be knitting hats, since last autumn was consumed by them. I am starting to get a bit twitchy about all the projects I have OTNs - I can't look at them on my Rav page for too long before I start to want them to disappear - but I don't want to have another month where I can't start anything, like April was.
That said, I have one day left of September. If I cast on for a couple of things tonight and tomorrow, I can make October a no-starting month and still have plenty to play with.
You're a sneaky one, Mrs T.
Friday, 25 September 2009
1. Getting compliments on my latest WIP - a Candy cardigan, knitted in softest grey silk blend and Noro Silk Garden, which is striping in the most beeyootiful way.
2. In Geology class (which I am taking along with 23 year 9s on a Friday after school), when I said, "This igneous rock is exactly like the last one except the crystals are bigger, which means this one must have formed UNDER the ground and the last one formed ABOVE the ground where it's cooler" AND I WAS RIGHT! I rock. Ba dum dum tish.
3. When one of the hardest boys in year 11, upon hearing that I couldn't wear fake tan on my face because it smells like feet on me, said, "Well then don't put it on your face, wear foundation instead - DUH!" like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Beauty tips from a thug. Bad ones, too.
4. Watching the abject confusion washing over my classes as they walked into my room and realised I'd shifted the whole layout around last night. They didn't know what to do! Cue much milling around. Bless.
5. THE END. Of the day, I mean. Open evening was last night and I am fit to drop. I considered going to be at 6pm when I got in but have managed to stay awake long enough to cook and eat dinner, watch the final episode of Reaper (I am, by the way, inconsolable that it has been cancelled) and write this. I don't think there's much more left in my day, though.
BRING ON THE WEEKEND!
And it's only really a three day week next week, because I have a Malaysia all-day meeting and Friday is sponsored walk day. God bless sponsored walk day.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
1. That foundation is the wrong colour. And it's too thick.
2. If you MUST cake it on, go and try a few shades on and look at them in natural light - pick the one that blends in most, not the tanned colour you wish to be - and invest in a decent foundation brush and a smoothing sponge.
3. Try mineral foundation. It will be better for those spots which aren't improving, thanks to their thick caking with cheapo foundation.
4. Eyelash combs - essential if you insist on wearing 12 coats of mascara.
5. Footless tights are not leggings. They require you to wear a top/dress/skirt that covers your arse - because they are see through.
6. The world will not end if your hair is not poker straight. You might feel like it has ended, though, when your hair falls out because of over-styling.
7. Screeching swear words across the playground is not classy. Stop it.
8. STAY AWAY from that vile boy in year 10 who shall not be named. HE IS DISGUSTING. You can all do a lot better.
9. You don't smell. Stop putting on body spray in my room.
10. Pick your battles. Teenaged girls are bitchy and will always be so. Ignoring it does not make you weak.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Pattern: Skylark, of my own creation
Needle: 5mm, straights mostly because this yarn is the same colour as my Knitpicks.
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the glorious Uptown colourway (which has made me look a bit washed out in this photo.
Here's the back -
I explained in a previous post about how the colour inspired the name for this project, and how surprised I was that it was the first thing from my Jimmy Beans haul that I wanted to knit with (I think I was more afraid I would put it away and never touch it again).
The pattern itself is a bit of a mishmash of other people's ideas. I liked the lace kimono from Interweave a few issues back - in that I liked the construction, anyway; I don't care much for all-lace tops like that because they necessitate the wearing of a second garment underneath which, for a summer top, makes about as much sense to me as eating gravy with chopsticks. But I liked the construction - a waist piece, and two sleeve pieces, so I borrowed that.
The 4x2 rib is similar to the Greenday top I knitted in June - big ribbing like this is lazy girl shaping, imho. It clings just right.
Finally, the modular construction of it - three easy pieces with little shaping - was inspired by the Tantric Puzzle Top (Rav link) I knitted in July and never blogged about. I finished it literally the day before we went away, and I haven't worn it much yet because it stills needs hooks and eyes or snaps or something other than safety pins to fasten it. However, it's just two rectangles sewn together in a certain way, so as to make a top. I like the idea of using basic shapes and careful construction to put a garment together.
I had a couple of frustrating moments with it - I had to rip back the waitsband twice before I was happy with it, and I'm still not 100% OK with the twisted i-cords ties, but it's good for now, and at least I can't see them. Overall, though, I love it! And it would have been really quick if I hadn't kept putting it aside in favour of Jo's lace scarf. It's finished just in time for the cooler weather. Bring on the bluster, baby - I've got some clothes that need wearing.
Perhaps I could be a knitwear designer instead of a teacher.
Less senior teachers? Does this mean I will be stuck at the chalkface for the rest of my life because there's nowhere for me to go?
Lower pay increases? What - even LOWER than the current sub-inflationary ones we're getting?
Oh, and good luck getting the unions to agree to that. I am already planning what to do with the time I get off for the strikes that'll cause.
As for the idea of teams of senior teachers running whole federations - the thought of my SLT trying to run seven schools as well as ours is enough to give me a headache, which likely indicates an aneurysm. The local federation of Academies has this - but they actually have MORE senior staff because there is the "business" leadership and the academic leadership.
Oh, and by the way, great idea making the running of Academies something you only need to have the skills to do, rather than the money. Isn't the whole point to increase private funding in education? And now they don't have to stump up any cash at all? Er....what?
Tell you what, Ed. Maybe stop sinking money into the diplomas as though you're going to be able to sustain that in the long term. And if you need to recoup some losses, I suggest a 90% tax on city bonuses for this tax year.
Meanwhile, getting out of teaching has never seemed so appealing.
Friday, 18 September 2009
1. Hatley PJs. I got some PJ bottoms in the US and am sad I did not getting a matching top. They have bears on them and are very comfy. I particularly like this bear, which reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are -
I am very sad they do not ship to the UK, and I can only find child sizes available over here. BAD HATLEY.
2. STRICTLY! I was wondering, as I fawned over the first episode of the new Strictly Come Dancing series this evening, why I'd never thought to watch it in HD before, since it is such superb wuality - no sequin too dull, no bead of sweat too tiny.....then I remembered that we didn't have the HDTV when the last series was on. How quickly we forget.
3. The word Wikikicking. Can you imagine what an awesome score that would get in Scrabble, if there were 3 Ks available? I came across it this week in this article (warning: some bad language in there. Very bad.)
4. The John Frieda volumising spray I bought last week. Big hair has never been easier. I believe it may also be extending the time I can go between washes without my hair looking like a bad combover from a Hamlet ad. I hope I'm not kidding myself.
5. Knitting on the catwalks. Hello, Chanel...
Very bad screenshot taken from their website, sorry. I pinched this one because it reminded me of a knitting project someone at my Knit'n'Knatter did, but the more I look at it, the more I like it, in a Bellatrix Lestrange kind of way.
Now, I must have some sleep. It has been in short supply. I am going to get some now. I've had the busiest week and it's only going to get worse. And I have 55 remarks to do this weekend (no, I know they're not really remarks, Mr Exam Board Man...) with more piling up, and Malaysia trip parents chasing me for information I don't yet have, and the ski company are making life very difficult....
Simplistic, low paid office work has never been so appealing.
Monday, 14 September 2009
Ten Tips To Steal My Style
1. Dress for your shape. Yes, it makes me sad that I can't really wear a shirt dress (instantly smart, I think), that I don't have the neck for a turtleneck (they look so snug!) and that to wear bodycon would be a complete betrayal of my genetic legacy, but putting these things on won't change the facts. On the other hand, I rock the strapless prom and wrap dresses; and hats, along with most styles of sunglasses, suit me.
2. Dress for your size. If I could have one wish, it would be for sizes not to matter anymore. Why ruin a perfectly good outfit by pouring yourself into a size 10 when you're actually a size 12? It's not a good look. Nobody ever looked stylish in clothes they feared to break wind in.
It works the other way, too. I spent many of my formative years in outsize clothes, and I wince to think of it, in the same way most people do when they look back at their childhood birthday party outfits. You want a clean silhouette, and to get it you need a nice drape, and nice drape can't happen when the clothes are barely touching the body.
3. Have a signature portion to your look. Keep one part of it instantly recognisable, as a way of keeping a running theme through your outfits. I had a friend at school who never went out without plenty of red lipstick on. I find you can dress as outrageously as you please but if you keep that one thing the same, people won't be surprised.
Of course, your one thing might be that you're always different. And hats off to you, for being so original. Now, go away and stop proving my theory wrong.
4. Find your niche. I was surprised when I received my award, because not many teenagers would regard an endless parade of jersey dresses, handknits, polka dots and Boden as stylish. It seems knowing what works for me and sticking with it has come to fruition. It may not be their idea of style, but it is a definite style.
5. Have a couple of crazy fashion rules. If the Americans can have that slightly bizarre "No white after Labor Day" thing, there's room for a few more. They don't have to make sense to anybody except you. My fashion rule is that I don't wear green - it's for leaves. I very rarely break this rule. Brown used to be in the same category but I couldn't fight that battle forever, being both a brunette and a fan of leopard print.
6. Invest in things that help. My handbag liner was one of my smartest buys ever, because now each one of my two dozen handbags sees the light of day at least three times a year, and I am never without lip balm/safety pins/work keys. Good underwear also falls into this category - and certainly helps with #4.
7. Customise a little. Elle blogger Laurelle Gilbert recommended adding some studs to the collar of a plain white blouse to get on trend this autumn. This is a marvellous plan, which I shall be following, as soon as I remember to buy a white blouse. And some studs.
Sequins are looking popular for 2010, so there's plenty of time to get a bit handy with a needle and thread - even if it's just your socks. And there’s a lot of very lovely knitwear about these days, too.
However, I soon realised I'd given up too easily. Enter, the wide legged trouser and the chunky waist belt.
9. Know your limits. It takes a lot of effort to look fabulous every day. Have a back up plan. When I'm tired and overworked, the black clothes come out, as if I am reverting back to my sloppy student days - only now, the black clothes are of better quality. And clean. And there is only one set of them, so I can't stay lazy for long. Going back to black removes any issues about matching accessories or shoes, and gives me time to sort out my signature hair. And my classes have it figured out now – black outfit = short fuse; shut up and get on with work. See? My style helps in my job.
10. Wear it with confidence. Who cares what they think? The vast majority of women are more interested in their own appearance than yours, anyway, unless you happen to be strutting down Christopher Kane's runway.
Friday, 11 September 2009
This guy obviously though other Brits might have the same idea, and I thought the article was really interesting. I guess the office of President is revered more as our monarch is, as opposed to the leader of our government.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
1. Challenge Days at work. Typically, the first day was shocking, as one might imagine it would be - an interfaculty project, running of the first time, with no dedicated planning time provided. I was so pissed off by the end of day one I threw a sulky fit in the post-mortem, when everyone talked over me and ignored what I had to say. Day 2 was much better. It's still not a patch on enrichment week, though.
2. Having a year 7 class again. Awww! They're all so cute and eager! They do that hands-up thing where they push their arms with their other hand to make it go higher! They get out of their seats and bring me their work to praise! Bless.
3. Reunited with my year 12s from last year. Except all the dross has been weeded out. As I predicted, 6 out of 7 pupils sitting on the left of the room failed, while 9 out of 10 on the other side passed. I have kept the right side, in more ways than one. I was totally missing my new-term buzz until today, when I was obviously so sub-cosnciously excited about seeing year 13 I left the staffrom a full 8 minutes before the end of lunch to make sure everything was properly prepared. This is unheard of. Buzz has finally arrived. Excited about the new year.
4. Found a use for Guam/Puerto Rico state quarters. The lady in the educational supplies shop in Reno tried to take my Guam quarter and I made her give it back. I collect, for no apparent reason. But today year 13 kicked off with the Spanish-American war and the quarters had a purpose! Why do Guam and Puerto Rico have state quarters and yet Cuba doesn't? I asked. They are going away to read about it.
5. Recruited for remarks. And getting a nice hefty cut of the remark charge. Not loving the tough stance though - "Keep the mark the same if you can cos otherwise the schools will lose confidence..." le sigh. Those kids who missed a C by one mark from my class aren't going up a grade, are they? Bloody system. I hate the system.
6. SHOPPING. Mmmmmm, shopping. I went to M&S for some coloured tights. I bought said tights, in teal and purple....plus seamed stockings, four rings, a silvered leather belt, a new bra, a navy polka dot cardigan which will go with many summer things, thus extending my wardrobe through the seasons, and has already been worn and much complimented (see how well I justify it?) and this skirt.
I am HANGING OUT for the day it's cold enough to wear this little piece of lushness. The stripes don't seem quite as garish in the real thing, and it's felted the way you'd make felt with a rolling pin, so they blend a lot better towards the bottom, almost in a wispy way. And it has a killer flare. The seamed stockings are for this skirt. It's got that prim worst witch thing going on which demands some sort of surprise.
7. Banned self from shopping again until the end of the month (except Mr Z's birthday present). But at least I didn't buy any more shoes.
8. Got blisters from new shoes. This makes me sad. They are a beautiful blue confection from the Jones sale and I wore them on Hell Challenge Day, and I haven't been able to wear shoes with a back ever since. Bad shoes. And yet, so good.
9. Went for curry at Shadin in Staple Hill. I had banana curry that was just pineapple (no banana), and duck and pumpkin curry that I'm fairly sure was some sort of elderly lamb. But they got mega points for presentation and the food was all delicious, even if somewhat...surprising.
10. Started a scrap book. If I am going to start forking out for fashion mags again, you can bet I'll be keeping chunks of them. I am now plotting three new knitting designs, based on other people's designs. I've only recently started to make up my own designs a bit more regularly, again spurred on by mega (over generous) compliments from knitting group friends about my suck-it-and-see approach. It made me remember when I started knitting and there was no Ravelry, and how I'd just try things out to see if they worked. Hence, the DK cotton running mitt. Error. But there were some good things.
Now I just need to finish all the things I have on the needles. I have an unprecedented four projects OTNs at the moment - well, four that I wouldn't class as UFOs - and I'm finding it difficult to keep track of my needle tips. I need to get some knitting done (more knitting, less shopping) and then I can get on with a bit more designing.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Five Current Favourite Beauty Products
1. Neal's Yard orange flower facial oil. I've started using this at night instead of moisturiser. My skin is quite dry and needs something rich. Smells delicious, and feels really nourishing - when I rinse my face in the morning I can feel the excess coming off, but it doesn't feel greasy.
Now, Sienna Miller recommends wearing moisturiser over the top of facial oil, but that just seems like product overload to me...
2. Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit perfume. I picked this up in Sephora while I was away. I have come across Pacifica before and their fruity scents really appeal to me. This one is particularly zingy and fresh, and although it doesn't last too long (grapefruit never does), I bought the solid perfume too, so I can top up during the day. It's a real pick-me-up.
3. Lush Oatifix facemask. Smells like Weetabix with banana, and leaves my skin nice and soft. This is one of the few masks I've used where I don't feel the need to slather on moisturiser as soon as I take it off.
4. Ped Egg. Not much different to any other foot file, imo, but that it captures filings (which is great). I use mine wet, which is probably not advised, but it's so much more effective if I do it after a soak in the bath or at the end of a shower. Then I add Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Balm.
5. MAC lipstick - Craving. I only started wearing lipstick in the last couple of years and I only have a few brights - a pillar box red, a more orangey red, and a bright pink. I'm not very good at reapplying so I didn't wear it every day - but then I remembered Lipcote and realised I could wear it all day. Craving is my attempt at a toned down lip. It's going well so far. I really need to go and ask the MAC counter for advice on a good neutral for me but they're always so busy.
OK, annoying. I'm writing this on Mr Z's swanky new MacBook and there is no option to change my font! Fail.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
This is a song by Just Jack. It is awesome, in my opinion.
The first time I heard it on the radio though, the word, "taxi" was replaced with something along the lines of, "that block of frozen urine dumped by a passing areoplane".
It didn't fit, but it made me laugh and laugh and laugh, all the rest of the way home (which was less than a mile, but it was still highly amusing).
However, I can find no trace of the song with this alternative lyric in it, nor any reference to it during an extensive (yep, 5 minutes again) web search. I am starting to think that I dreamt it. Maybe Just Jack has done a Live Lounge recently and it was that version, or something.
I have issues. Here is an issue -
Your job is to photograph fashion. Here, you have put a black dress against a black background. It looks artsy and cool. I like the teal scarf, which stands out very well. However, I CANNOT SEE THE SHAPE OF THE DRESS. Having taken a bad photograph of it on my camera, I see now that with the aid of an extremely powerful flash, the outline of the dress is just about visible. But I am not reading this magazine in a lab or a photographic studio. I am only 31 - I am not losing my close-up vision yet. I like to be able to SEE what you are telling me I NEED. If you are a fashion magazine, photographing the fashion should surely come first?
Exhibit 2: this jacket -
It's by Prada. I like it a lot. It reminds me a bit of this jacket (a free knitting pattern from Berocco) -
Except, of course, the Prada one is much nicer and has lovely sleeves. The Berocco could be easily adapted, I think. But unfortunately, I cannot see properly if they are actually that good of a match, because the jacket is obscured by what appears to be a pumpkin-shaped pine cone.
OK, OK, I know it's not within Elle's remit to photograph expensive designer outfits so that I can try and create my own version (although I'd bet you any amount of cash that Prada does not make clothes in my size), but still...I cannot find this jacket on the web ANYWHERE (I spent a whole five minutes looking for it) so this is the only picture I have seen of it. I wouldn't buy it on the strength of a partially obscured picture.
Here is my second issue.
This is a leather body. I refer you to the Fug Girls' rant on leather shorts, and quote their mantra - just because one word is fabric and one is garment, does not mean they go together.
I have watched bodysuits creeping back into the shops with the same sort of sinking feeling I get watching the rust patch on my car fester, and spread. Bodies were not comfortable. They were not especially flattering, especially with the ubiquitous mum-waisted jeans that everyone wore when I was a teen. I can't imagine they'll be more flattering with hipsters - there will be a bit of gapping, I fear.
And leather. LEATHER. Weren't they difficult enough to do up after going to the loo when they were made of stretchy cotton?
Here endeth the rant.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Ten Thoughts On Spinning
1. It hurts. It hurts more on the following days, too.
2. It's a pain/pain thing. The seat hurts my bum, so I try and join in with as much of the standing stuff as possible, but that hurts just as much, so I sit back down...&c. &c.
3. It works, quickly. It's a pity, but it does. I mean, not in a week or something - but twice a week for six weeks, and I defy anybody to not notice a difference. Even once a week will help fitness levels.
4. All instructors are not the same. If you have tried spinning and particularly despised it, you might try a different instructor. Makes a huge difference.
5. The music helps. For me, I have to have tracks with a beat I can catch, and it helps if they build to a crescendo. I like 80s rock, personally. Best spinning track ever - Bohemian Rhapsody. I don't like instructors who play one CD from start to finish, or play dance music which has such a fast beat you'd have a coronary trying to pace it (see #4).
6. Everybody in the class has their place. My place, if we were actually riding, would be puffing away at the very back, making everybody else feel better. To my knowledge, I have never once finished an out-of-saddle hill climb. I don't feel bad about it, though.
7. "Put a bit of resistance on" means a quarter turn, maximum. Maybe just an eighth turn if your legs are already heavy. It doesn't mean two complete turns.
8. If the person in front of you seems to be doing really well, but they are bouncing around everywhere, "their doin it rong." Lots of bouncing = no resistance. Of course they can keep up.
9. Please, wear suitable clothing. For more than two years, I have been sat behind a woman who wears the same pair of black leggings every class. And a thong. And I don't know about her underwear choice because it's sticking out over the top - I WISH it were because of that. Please, check your trousers stay opaque when you bend over. And I would recommend big, snug granny pants, for hygiene, if not for comfort.
10. The stretching at the end is the best bit. Stretching always feels better when you've been through hell.
I have been lazy with Tuesday ten since I got back, I know. And weekend FO - I have two FOs to share. And I don't even want to mention One Local Summer - that was an epic fail this year. I must keep up my blogging. My blog is 10 in October! I used to be a lot more frequent with my updates, too. I've improved hugely in the past year, though, so hopefully I will maintain it.